September 26, 2020

The geopolitics of space and the Colleferro Italian leadership

By Domenico Letizia.

Over the last few years, we have witnessed the flourishing of a strategic competition between great powers for the conquest of space, which has become a terrain of competition and the object of growing global interest. 

China and the US are the leaders of this competition, in which both states aim at reinforcing their relative strength. There is therefore a real “geopolitics” of space exploration. For Europe too, space has become strategic, and in fact space diplomacy has become a new area where the geopolitics of states develops. An incredible opportunity for the growth and development of our country.

The European Space Agency, with its current 22 members, is very active in guaranteeing autonomous access to space to the European countries that are part of it through two programs: the Ariane program, intended to place large and heavy satellites in geostationary orbit, and the Vega program, which consists mainly of a launcher, a smaller and lighter missile that is used to place artificial satellites in low orbit.

Avio S.p.A, an Italian company heir to an industrial tradition that began operating in 1912 in Colleferro, Lazio, plays a fundamental role in both European programs. For the Ariane program, Avio produces the additional solid propulsion engines that allow the large launcher to detach itself from the earth’s surface.

Avio is also thinking about research on Mars in collaboration with the space districts of Campania and Sardinia. Unlike the missions of the Emirates, China and Russia, Avio’s initiative with the Campania and Sardinian partners aims to carry out a relatively cheap mission, using smaller satellites. Furthermore, we recall a very important program: the agreement concluded by Avio with the United Nations Space Office located in Vienna.

On the basis of this agreement, Avio offered to place nine mini satellites in orbit free of charge, for countries that are now entering the international space scene. In this way Avio intends on the one hand to contribute to the peaceful use of space and the diffusion of technology, and on the other to reduce the technological gap between the nations that use satellites and those who do not.

The Italian State is concretely supporting the sector with substantial investments, to the point that the Office of the Prime Minister keeps in its portfolio the responsibility for managing the secret services and the aerospace sector. The Lazio Region is the only Region in Europe that hosts the aerospace supply chain internally, and Governor Nicola Zingaretti includes it in his Smart Strategy.

Colleferro has the task of creating a value chain in this field: from industry, very well represented by Avio and its related activities, to the involvement of universities and the skills of young people coming from all over Europe. The challenge is to become an attractive pole in Europe in the domain of space.

 

About the author:

Domenico Letizia Journalist. Radio speaker of “RadioAtene”. Researcher, publicist and social media manager of the “Water Museum of Venice”, member of the UNESCO World Network of Water Museums. Public relations manager of the Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Trade of Malta. Expert in geopolitics, green, blue economy, digital and agri-food.

Photo: Domenico Letizia.

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